Dwarf bunt-resistant bread wheat accessions and SNP markers associated with DB resistance identified in this study are valuable resources for characterization and deployment of DB resistance in bread wheat. Abstract
Dwarf bunt (DB), caused by Tilletia controversa J.G. Kühn, can significantly reduce grain yield and quality on autumn-sown wheat in regions with prolonged snow cover. DB can be managed with the use of resistant cultivars. The objectives of the present study were to characterize DB resistance in a large set of bread wheat accessions from the National Small Grains Collection and use a genome-wide association study approach to identify genetic loci associated with DB resistance. A total of 292 accessions were selected using historical DB resistance data recorded across many trials and years in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) and re-tested for DB resistance in replicated field nurseries in Logan, UT, in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Ninety-eight accessions were resistant with DB normalized incidence ≤ 10%, and twenty-eight of these were highly resistant with DB normalized incidence ≤ 1% in both GRIN and the field nurseries. Based on the presence of marker haplotypes of the four published dwarf bunt QTL on 6DS, 6DL, 7AL, and 7DS, highly resistant accessions identified in this study may provide novel resistance and should be further evaluated. This study validated one previously identified QTL on 6DS and identified an additional locus on 6DS. These loci explained 9–15% of the observed phenotypic variation. The resistant accessions and molecular markers identified in the present study may provide valuable resources for characterization and deployment of DB resistance in bread wheat.